Five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe says fellow Australian James "Missile" Magnussen is the best swimmer to emerge on the international scene in a decade.
Thorpe, who failed in his comeback bid to make the London Games, said he was confident Magnussen could smash Brazilian Cesar Cielo's 46.91-second 100m freestyle world record as early as the semi-finals.
"For me, watching him, I see a new era of sprinting," Thorpe told Australian media on Friday.
"He's the most impressive swimmer I've seen, probably over the past decade, that's new to the sport. He's exciting to watch."
Thorpe, who missed out on a place in the Australian team after failing to qualify in the 100m and 200m freestyle events, said that Magnussen was leading the country to "the dawn of a new era in swimming".
"I think he will do incredible things. I think you could see an amazing result in the (100m freestyle) semi-final and then in the final. Obviously I think he's going to win."
Having won five gold medals at the Sydney and Athens Olympics, Thorpe is Australia's greatest Olympian, but he believes Magnussen could take the title from him.
"I'd like him to. Why not?," he said.
"I wouldn't mind seeing him swim a 200 as well -- I think he can. It's a good possibility."
Ian Thorpe, seen here speaking with reporters during a press conference in London, on July 26, on the eve of the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony.
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List of events:
Saturday, July 28, 4.30am: Opening ceremony
Sunday July 29, 4am: Stephanie Rice’s 400m IM, women’s 4x100m relay
Monday, July 30: Men’s freestyle 4x100m relay
Thursday, August 2, 4.30am: James Magnussen’s 100m freestyle
Monday, August 6, 3.50am: Usain Bolt and the 100m final
Wednesday, August 8, 3.50am: Sally Pearson and the 100m
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